Oysters

minwoo / Flickr CC

New Hampshire may have a tiny seacoast but that doesn't stop people from hauling out oysters.

The state's Fish and Game department says oyster season is open from September through May. It's only open to Granite Staters and the shellfish can only be taken for personal consumption; no sales are allowed.

Oysters can be taken by hand or by using tongs but rakes are illegal.

minwoo / Flickr CC

Two new Oyster Farms could sprout up in Little Bay next year. If approved, it would make ten farms in operation in the estuary.

The max size for an oyster farm in New Hampshire is four acres, but the two proposed farms are both considerably smaller. One, from a UNH Masters student would be 2.5 acres, and the other would be just an acre in size.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

On the dock of Great Bay Marine, there’s what looks like a little raft tied up, but get close and you hear the hum of a water pump. This is where Fat Dog Oyster Company is based.

Reporter Sam Evans-Brown recently spent a day with Jay Baker and Alex Boeri of Fat Dog for his story on the boom in oystering in N.H.'s Great Bay Estuary. You can check out more of his photos and sound in this 2-minute video:

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Oyster farming in the Great Bay Estuary is in the midst of a little bit of a boom. In recent years, the number of oyster farms has leapt from 1 to 8, with more on the way. These gains are boosting the hopes that using these filter feeders as an “outside-the-pipes” way to clean up the waters of the Great Bay could become a reality.

Sam Evans-Brown

 

The Nature Conservancy and the University of New Hampshire are working to restore oyster beds in the Great Bay. The organization hopes its efforts can help stave off an ecosystem collapse while towns in the watershed work toward upgrading their wastewater plants.